Fire Pit Air Holes: Why They’re Essential for Safety and Performance

Are fire pit air holes necessary? Fire pits need airflow as oxygen is required to keep the flames going.

Fire pits do need air holes as they have to be properly ventilated.

Several regulations revolve around fire pit air holes and fire pits in general.

Most states have regulations on where to place the fire pit with sufficient distance from the home and any hanging branches, shrubs, or other material that can catch fire easily.

The burning of materials can also be regulated, particularly those not allowed. Oils, rubber, plastic, garbage, or other types of waste may not be permitted to burn in your community.

Regulations may also include extinguishing the fire after use and not leaving it unattended.

Installing a fire pit is one of the best ways to make your backyard more enjoyable.

While fire pits are great fun, many measures need to happen and things to be considered.

Getting back to fire pit air holes. There are some other alternatives and measures that you can take to make these fire pit air holes and ensure you’re safe around fire pits.

To learn more, please continue reading about fire pit air holes and safety.

fire pit with air holes burning wood

Fire Pit Air Holes Proper Ventilation

Whether buying or building a fire pit, it needs airflow to keep the flames going.

This need for oxygen increases the more the fire is contained, so it is vital to have air holes in the fire pit.

Proper ventilation can also help prevent fires from damaging the surrounding surface, like a patio or when a fire pit is on a wood deck.

For example, say your fire pit is an above-ground walled pit.

For proper airflow, you’ll want to place two-inch air holes every 24 to 36 inches around the base of the pit.

You may need more fire pit air holes the larger the pit.

The other thing to note is that you’ll want those holes cleared of ash or debris.

Furthermore, avoid using plastic pipes or PVC for air holes.

PVC or other plastic pipes will melt, and since they have chemicals, they will be released into the air.

All that being said, the need for ventilation also falls on the type of fire pit.

It can also be a good idea for fire pits with holes to have a ring around the fire pit.

Fire Pit Rings

Outdoor gas-burning fire pits and pre-built ones are meant for open spaces and will have ventilation in mind already.

But just in case you weren’t aware, you cannot burn wood in a gas firepit.

Smokeless Fire Pits

Another alternative to adding air holes to fire pits is simply a smokeless fire pit.

This type of fire uses controlled airflow and temperatures to start a fire.

Think of these fire pits as well-tuned engines that release little exhaust. And you won’t need to worry about the base of the fire pit, as it’s in the ground.

There still is going to be smoke. However, it’s less than traditional fire pits and they also produce more heat.

Most people might not use a smokeless fire pit because it takes special work or you need certain parts for them.

You can buy a smokeless fire pit instead of creating your own, but they can be pricey.

The traditional smokeless fire pit is the Dakota fire pit. This fire pit is basically two small pits in the ground with a vent tunnel.

The tunnel is where the airflow will be, which will start the fire.

The Dakota Fire Hole – Stealth Fire

Portable rocket stoves come in various shapes and sizes, making them versatile for fire pits.

Rocket Stoves

The overall setup is similar to the Dakota fire pit, where a constant fresh air supplies the bottom.

The last option is to have a smoke-free pit insert for your fire pit.

You might want to consider using a freestanding patio fire pit.

It acts as an afterburner. The air is mixed with smoke to create a second burn, producing more heat and less smoke.

These options are more innovative than using fire pit air holes if reducing smoke production is your goal.

General Fire Pit Safety Tips

To finish off, here are some other tips to keep in mind with ventilation as well and to help ensure fire pit safety:

  • Ensure you use a fire pit in an open space and outside with plenty of airflow. This rule has a few exceptions – such as indoor gas fire pits – but ventilation is still important. When setting fire pits outside, be sure the area is clear of anything that could catch fire, like branches, low-hanging plants, and trees.
  • Always read the owner’s manual if you get a pre-built fire pit. They’ll also have fire safety tips and how to use and maintain the fire pit.
  • Know the town rules around fire pits and make a point of exceeding the recommended measures taken.
  • Avoid an accelerant at all costs. Things like gasoline, lighter fluid, alcohol, or other volatile liquids will start intense fires and can damage your fire pit.
  • Avoid using plastic or chemically treated materials in any fire pit activities. As mentioned, those chemicals will get into the smoke and create toxic air fumes.
  • Keep water, a fire extinguisher, and a fire blanket nearby around the fire pit. You’ll want to respond quickly in the case of an emergency and don’t have a few seconds to run into the house. A fire only needs a few moments to spread and cause damage.

Allstate Insurance has some considerations when using a backyard fire pit.

You can also check out our post on how to start a fire in a firepit safely.

Final Notes

Fires need air and ventilation, so when you’re building a fire pit or setting one up, consider how the fire will get ventilated.

While fire pits air holes are one of the easiest ways to get ventilation to your fire pit, they’re not the only way.

When starting a fire, it’s important to consider different fuel sources, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, but all requiring proper ventilation.

Enjoy the outdoor life!